The humble hashtag made its debut back in the fall of 2007, 14 years ago. It’s come a long way since then, and some people have even started asking if hashtags are important anymore.

The short answer to this question is yes, they absolutely are. The key, though, is making sure you’re using them properly.

Read on to find out why hashtags still matter, as well as what you can do to ensure your hashtags are helping you see the greatest results.

Why Should You Continue Using Hashtags?

Hashtags still have a lot to offer brands that are looking to make a splash on social media. The following are some of the greatest benefits a good hashtagging strategy can provide:

Increase Brand Awareness

The main reason why social media users, including businesses looking to boost their online presence, use hashtags is to increase visibility and support their branding efforts.

Using them makes it easier for you to reach people who are interested in the types of products or services you have to offer.

Hashtags related to fitness or strength training, for example, can help you to get your posts (and your product and brand message, for that matter) in front of people who have an interest in these subjects and will be more inclined to check out your business.

Keep Up with the Competition

Social media hashtags make it easier for you to find your competitors online. They also help you to check out their social media campaigns and get an idea of what’s resonating with your shared audience and what is not.

For example, if you find another brand that sells products similar to yours online, you can check out the hashtags on their posts and then look to see which ones seem to be generating the most audience engagement. This, in turn, can inform you and your team’s decisions when it comes to choosing which hashtags you’ll use for your posts.

Improve Your Reputation

When your customers and members of your target audience use your brand’s hashtags, they’re essentially using the virtual version of word-of-mouth marketing to spread the word about what your business has to offer.

This type of promotion helps to boost your company’s reputation, and it gets more people interested in what you’re selling. Over time, this adds credibility to your brand and can improve your bottom line.

Grow Your Local Audience

If you’re looking to grow your local audience and attract more customers in your area, using local hashtags can make a big difference.

Let’s say you run a bakery in San Francisco, for example. If this is the case, something like #SanFranciscoBaker or #SanFranciscoSourdoughSeller could make a big difference when it comes to catching the attention of people who are in the area or traveling to the area and looking for local bakeries to visit.

4 Tips for Better Hashtag Results

Hashtags can do a lot for brands that are looking to boost awareness and get more people excited about what they’re selling. If you want to experience the kinds of benefits listed above, though, you need to make sure you’re using hashtags correctly.

Here are 4 simple tips you can start implementing today for better results:

1. Place Hashtags Properly

There are lots of different places you can put hashtags when creating a social media post. The two most popular options, though, are to add them to the post’s caption or place them in a comment.

The ideal location generally depends on the size of your audience, according to a study conducted by Social Insider.

If you have a smaller following (under 5,000 followers) or a moderate-sized following (10,000 to 100,000 followers), placing hashtags in the caption seems to be the most effective option. If you have a following of 5,000 to 10,000 or a following of over 100,000, however, placing them in the first comment seems to generate more engagement.

2. Use the Right Amount of Hashtags

The number you use in your posts can impact the amount of engagement you receive, too.

Keep in mind that more is not always better, especially when it comes to hashtags. In fact, posts that have fewer tend to see better results than posts that use the maximum 30 hashtags that platforms like Instagram allow.

According to the study mentioned in the previous section, for those who have fewer than 5,000 followers or more than 100,000 followers, a maximum of 6 hashtags seems to yield the best results. For those with 5,000 to 10,000 followers, limiting yourself to 5 hashtags seems to be more effective.

If you have 10,000 to 50,000 followers, just 2 will do. For those with 50,000 to 100,000 followers, though, up to 8 hashtags can have a positive effect.

3. Be Specific

When choosing hashtags for your posts, aim to be as specific as possible. When you use generic tags like #Love or #Summer, you have thousands (if not millions) of other posts with the same tags competing for attention.

Use tags that are relevant to your brand’s unique products or services, and be sure to include location-specific information when necessary. This helps you to reach the right audience and decreases the likelihood that your hashtags will be lost in the ether.

4. Monitor Hashtag Performance

Finally, don’t forget to monitor your hashtags’ performance.

Platforms like Instagram make it easy for you to review post analytics and keep track of how many impressions each post gets from hashtags, specifically. You can also use third-party tools to keep track of high-performing hashtags and streamline the selection process for future posts.

Upgrade Your Hashtag Game Today

As you can see, hashtags definitely still have a place in a solid social media marketing strategy. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you they no longer matter.

Furthermore, be sure to keep the tips listed above in mind as you make plans for future marketing campaigns. That way, you can choose what’s right and see the best results from your efforts.

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